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An Odin Adventure – A Dog’s Tale: Our First RV Trips

Mark & Hilary Steves

Enjoy the continuing adventures of Odin the Corgi and his brother Zeus, the Golden Retriever, as they travel in their 2018 Leisure Travel Vans Unity FX (chauffeured by their parents, Mark and Hilary Steves).

Wow! My first blog post got a great response, so my parents are encouraging me to write another post to describe the first adventures my brother Zeus and I had in our Unity FX, Zephyr.

Our First Trip – Living it up at Lopez Lake

Mom and Dad brought back our new mobile house in October of 2018. They flew out to St. Louis to pick it up (and left us behind for a full week!), and when they returned they had this new silver mobile house parked in our driveway. [Ed note: Read about our first adventure in our Unity FX right here.] Since we hadn’t had a chance to go anywhere in it yet, we asked them to take us out for a weekend trip up to Lopez Lake in Arroyo Grande, a short 45 minutes away. You’d be amazed what you can ask for when you literally have puppy-dog eyes. [Ed note: True. So true.]

We’d never been to Lopez Lake. It was early November, so it wasn’t crowded but the weather was great. Mom and Dad got a great parking spot for the mobile house, which they call Zephyr, hooked up some cables to a box, and we started exploring the area. It was only a short walk until we were at the lake. Because it wasn’t too crowded, and there was another dog already playing there, my parents let Zeus and I off the leash so we could splash in the water. Zeus can go out much deeper than I can – I don’t have big legs like he does to paddle with. He can even swim! I just like splashing in the shallow parts.

 

After playing on the beach and meeting new people and dogs, we did more walking around and wound up at the general store. We couldn’t go inside (why do so many places that smell like food not want us inside?), but there was an outside patio where we could hang out while Mom and Dad got some food and drinks. That gave us time to dry out before heading back to our campsite to relax a bit more.

There are a lot of different creatures around Lopez Lake that we don’t get at home! These large birds Dad called “turkeys” were everywhere, plus a lot of birds that Mom called “woodpeckers” with funny red heads. We just sat outside with Dad while he took lots of photographs of them. Oh, and I did see some deer, but we see them at home all the time. I wonder if they followed us?


As the sun went down, we walked around while Dad took more photos of us. He calls this time of day “golden hour,” but he takes pictures of more than just Zeus, the Golden Retriever, so I don’t really get it.

Golden hour with a golden (and a corgi).

After the golden hour pictures, we walked up a little hill where we could see the lake and watch the sunset. I sat in Dad’s lap while sun set over the lake. Ahhhh… this is heaven.

After that we went inside the mobile house for dinner and then a nap while Mom and Dad watched some TV. I was so tired! The next morning was another walk and then before I knew it we were back on the road and then home. I decided that I liked this new mobile house, and wondered where we’d go next.

The end of a happy day.

Alas, the next two times that Mom and Dad took Zephyr out for a trip they didn’t bring us. [Ed note: We took a trip to Morro Bay and stayed at the State Park there for a night and then another trip to Cambria for their annual Christmas lights display and a visit to Hearst Castle. In both cases, we elected to keep Zeus and Odin at home as we weren’t going to be around dog-friendly places as much. I think they understood.]

A Wonderful Winery Weekend

The next trip with all of us was another short drive (I like short drives – they’re not as boring as the long treks), this time up to Paso Robles. Mom and Dad wanted to visit wineries to try the red juice they like. We’ve been up there quite a few times, but this was the first trip in Zephyr. Our first stop was at a place called Tin City, which is in an industrial-looking area with lots of different wineries. Mom and Dad were initially worried about parking Zephyr, but I don’t know why. It seems easy to drive and park wherever we go. We dropped into two wineries there, and most importantly, since they’re all friendly to dogs, we got some lovin’ from the staff and other guests. I guess Mom and Dad got to try their red juice as well. Then it was off down winding trails past vineyards and farms to visit more wineries.

Wineries always seem to be at the end of the winding roads we travel.

Penman Springs Winery was a nice one, with lots of people, cookies for me and Zeus, and cheese and bread that the winery provided for Mom and Dad. Eventually we wound up at a winery called Rio Seco, and luckily we got inside just as it started to rain. Although this was weird rain, as it was more like small ice cubes coming down. [Ed note: This may have been Odin’s first experience with hail.] Mom and Dad drank some red juice while we waited for the “rain” to stop, but then we didn’t pack up to go home! This was our first time to actually stay for the night at a winery! [Ed note: Rio Seco is one of three wineries in Paso Robles that’s associated with Harvest Hosts, allowing you to spend the night for free dry camping.] It was kind of cold, being February and all, and wet, and it had been a busy day, so we just had dinner and then relaxed before we all climbed onto the bed to sleep.

Sunset in the vineyard.

The next morning was a quick breakfast (gotta start the day right!) and then a nice walk around the winery. This place also had a really large pile of old vines, so Mom and Dad asked if they could take some and then filled up the back of Zephyr! Dad said they’d be good for woodworking projects. Thank goodness we were heading home; there wasn’t any room to move around, and they’d blocked access to our food!

North to Napa

Just a short month later and Mom and Dad were getting Zephyr ready for another trip. I thought this might be another one-night journey, but it turned out this would be a longer trip as we drove many (many!) hours up to Napa Valley. It took a while, plus lunch on the way, but eventually we pulled into our first winery of the trip, Raymond Vineyards. It was really big with multiple tasting rooms, and more importantly, lots and lots of people. I got mistaken for the “oh-my-god-its-a-corgi” guy again, but everyone wanted to say hi to us. I even think we held up something called the “wine train” while people stopped to pet us. And the folks behind the counter brought out cookies, so this became our new favorite place of the day.

It rained off and on all day, and there was a pretty rainbow as we pulled into one winery. But the next few wineries we stopped into weren’t as crowded as the first one, so not as exciting for Zeus and me. Still, Mom and Dad seemed to like the red juice they tasted, since they bought a few bottles.

The rain can bring out the beauty of Napa Valley.

I figured we weren’t driving back home after all that, so I wasn’t surprised when we pulled into a place to park for the night. Dad says it’s called Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. It was kind of dark and dreary when we arrived, so we just made the mobile house bigger (still not sure how that happens), had dinner, and Mom and Dad watched a movie while Zeus and I relaxed. All night long it sounded like it was raining hard outside, but then the sun came up and the sound was still there. Dad went out and then came back to get Zeus and me. Seems we were parked next to a stream and the running water was what we heard all night. It was very green and overgrown with moss. Zeus and I did the obligatory posing while Mom and Dad took photos of us. It was a bit too wet for them to walk around (Zeus and I were fine with it!), and so we very quickly packed up and then were off.

The stream right behind where we parked for the night.

We drove a winding road over the hills and now Dad said we were in Sonoma County. Why were we here? More wineries, of course!

It’s Special in Sonoma

We started at Lancaster Estate Winery, where I got my own glass of red juice (not really) and went inside a cool cave filled with wine barrels. We don’t even have a basement at home, so I like checking out caves. The folks there were very friendly, as we were the only ones there. They even asked if Dad could send them a picture to use on their website.  I’m still getting used to this whole “social media” thing.

My favorite varietal is pinot noir.

Next we went to Roth Estate, and they also had a cave! They were doing some kind of special tasting event there, but we had called ahead and were met on the road and told where to park Zephyr. Inside was more red juice for Mom and Dad and more pictures of us by the wine barrels – and some treats from behind the counter, wahoo!

My barks really echo in these caves!

Then we went to Chalk Hill Winery, but no cave here, and I was starting to get tired. We went to another couple of wineries in an industrial area which was full of people. One of the wineries, Donelan Family Wines, was having “barrel tastings.” Mom and Dad seemed excited, but I’ve chewed plenty of wood and don’t see why they’d get so excited over tasting barrels.

Next stop was our last for the day – a place called Spring Lake Regional Park. It was getting dark when we arrived, so we didn’t explore much, but the next morning we walked around the beautiful park that we basically had to ourselves. Dad really liked the rocks and the trees in the morning sun. This park even has a lake, although Mom wouldn’t let us go swimming… something about five hours on the road with wet dogs. I have no idea what she’s talking about.


So that’s the story of our first trips in the new mobile house. Zeus and I certainly enjoyed it, and it looked like Mom and Dad did too. Stay tuned for more stories, including our first visit to an “RV Resort” and a journey from inland wineries to the Pacific coast.

About the Author

Corgi’s gotta keep blogging.

Odin is a Welsh Pembroke Corgi and the top dog around the house. His older brother, Zeus, is a Golden Retriever, so he just wants to get along with everyone. Odin has become excited about blogging his travels in the Unity FX Zephyr, and hopes he can keep you entertained with his posts.

Mark & Hilary Steves

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